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BlackBerry Pearl 8110 review: BlackBerry Pearl 8110

The 8110 isn't so much an updated model as it's virtually identical to the previously released Pearl 8120, excluding the fact that the 8110 includes a GPS chipset, but is without Wi-Fi.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
2 min read

The BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is the latest BlackBerry to hit our shores and follows on from the Pearl 8120 which was released locally last November. The 8110 isn't so much an updated model as the two handsets are virtually identical, excluding the fact that the 8110 includes a GPS chipset, but is without the Wi-Fi hardware found in the 8120.


BlackBerry Pearl 8110

The Good

Well designed and lightweight. SureType predictive messaging is excellent. Integrated GPS.

The Bad

No 3G or HSDPA. No widescreen for video. Poor quality camera. No Wi-Fi.

The Bottom Line

If you're choosing between the 8110 and the Wi-Fi enabled 8120 we recommend you choose the latter. Both handsets are virtually identical, however, the absence of GPS in the 8120 is easily replaced with a Bluetooth GPS receiver.

GPS vs Wi-Fi
This is basically the only decision to be made when choosing between these Pearls. The handsets are otherwise identical, including very similar price points — AU$699 for the 8110 and AU$659 for the 8120. While this is ultimately a matter of personal choice, we choose the 8120's Wi-Fi as the way to go for a few simple reasons.

Firstly, the Pearl series, like most BlackBerrys, is lacking 3G data speeds which, as we stated in the review of the 8120, is a travesty for a business-focused handset. Wi-Fi is the fall-back for professionals who need fast downloads to their phones, although this solution requires a Wi-Fi hotspot, and probably isn't as useful for people on-the-move. That said, business people who travel frequently may prefer the GPS receiver in the 8110 to begin with.

Our second criticism of GPS on the 8110 is the limited availability of mapping software. At the time of writing the 8110 is available exclusively through Vodafone and comes with Vodafone's Compass navigation software. Compass is a decent mapping solution with a few nifty features, but if you're looking to switch to another mapping software, you'll find it very difficult to purchase alternatives which map Australian roads that are compatible with BlackBerry's operating system.

Perhaps the strongest reason we're leaning towards Wi-Fi over GPS is because it's possible, and affordable, to purchase a Bluetooth GPS receiver to use with the 8120. In fact, Vodafone sells its Compass software bundled with a Bluetooth receiver, as do many others. There's no such option for adding Wi-Fi to the 8110 if you decide you need it down the track.

For more information regarding our impressions of the 8110, be sure to read the full review of the BlackBerry Pearl 8120.